The Importance of Google Alerts
August 18, 2010
Okay, I’ll admit it. I Google myself. A lot. Come on… who doesn’t? It extends beyond ego, though. It’s about understanding what type of information is out there that’s tied to your name, and most importantly your business.
While the web is a great place full of generous, interesting people, it’s also rampant with trolls and copycats–many who will not hesitate to rip off your words or images and claim them as their own. It’s also easy for someone to manipulate or quote you out of context, creating a negative image or idea you didn’t intend. So, it’s important to monitor what’s going on out there and make sure you protect your brand and its content.
But, what if you’re busy and you don’t want to sit down every week and spend the time to Google yourself? Well, that’s where Google Alerts comes in. When I discovered this simple resource I was blown away. You can set up multiple Google alerts for different search terms, and have them automatically emailed to you at regular intervals.
Here are some tips to get you started with Google Alerts:
- Enter your name or company name in quotes. So, for example, mine would be “Preston Bailey.” If you don’t enter quotes, it won’t search for it as a phrase, it will only search for web pages that have both “Preston” and “Bailey” somewhere on the page.
- I would suggest setting up multiple phrases related to you and your business. For example, you can have your name: “Preston Bailey,” your business name “Preston Bailey Designs,” and your industry “Event design” or “Wedding Design.” Google alerts are a great way to keep up on news of any type, without having to go out there and do the searches manually.
- If you have a common name and you know there’s someone else out there with the same name but a different industry, you can add negative terms (with a minus sign) to omit their results. For example, there is also a child actor named Preston Bailey. If I set up google alerts for “Preston Bailey -Dexter” I will ensure that I won’t get any news related to him.
- You can also do this with websites. If you get a lot of Google search results related to Twitter but you’re not interested in those, you can set up your Google Alert in this format: “Preston Bailey -site:twitter.com”
Google has a great help page with even more tips on what you can use for both Google Alerts and general search. You can find that here.
Now, what are you waiting for? Go out and set up those Google Alerts and wait to see what comes back! I ensure you that it will be fascinating, and maybe even a little eye opening. Once you understand what’s being said about you, you can react or not react in whatever way you see fit.
Tell me, do you already have Google Alerts set up for yourself? Who is someone with your name that always pops up in your Google searches? Like I mentioned, there’s a child actor, but there’s also a football player and a minister with my name. What other common key phrases do you use to search for news about our industry?